Today’s press reports though are linking both clubs with backroom staff as opposed to playing staff. Normally here at the Transfer Tavern we wouldn’t interest ourselves too much in something dull like coaching or a new dinner lady, but the name Frank Arnesen is almost as important as some managers in modern football. The Dane has already announced his intention to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of this season and there are already numerous suitors lining up to fill his pockets with gold.
Arnesen was a successful player through the late 70’s and 80’s and racked up over 300 appearances over his career, he represented his country on the international stage over 50 times as well, however he is more known now for his work post retirement.
His first job came working under Bobby Robson as his assistant at PSV Eindhoven in 1991. During his time there Arnesen was responsible for bringing through some extremely gifted players including: Arjen Robben, Jaap Stam and Brazilian striker Ronaldo.
He would eventually move into English football and work at White Hart Lane. He came to work with Jacques Santini, and to head up player recruitment however this didn’t last long with the Frenchman soon quiting citing ‘personal issues’ as the reason, but many suggest it was the influence of Arnesen that lead to his resignation. While at Tottenham, Arnesen had some transfer successes, most noticeably Michael Carrick and Michael Dawson, he did however also sign a few deeply average players.
It wasn’t long before he was on the move again for about £8million (a sum which would normally be lavished only on the transfer of a player), this time across London to Stamford Bridge where he worked alongside Jose Mourinho. The Dane was responsible for unearthing talents and the signings of John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou were attributed to him, ultimately Jose Mourinho left possibly because of the involvement of Arnesen and now he too will be moving on.
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His work at Chelsea cannot be fully assessed at this point, players such as Josh McEachran, Jack Cork and Gael Kakuta are not old enough to be judged but if the current set of academy graduates at Chelsea prove to be a success then he will have met the remit of his job. Chelsea won the FA youth cup last year for the first time in 49 years with players who are now part of the first team squad, so the signs are positive.
Reports are now surfacing saying that he could leave Chelsea as soon as the next fortnight, Real Madrid appear to be favourites to offer him work, a move which would surely antagonise Jose Mourinho who didn’t enjoy working with him previously. Hamburg and Manchester City are also in the frame, and City could be an interesting proposition for the Dane.
Sheikh Mansour, the clubs owner, has stated on numerous occasions that his vision is to be build a team that will last focussing on potential stars. The club’s focus on youth talent could appeal to Arnesen since that is where he has been so successful previously, City fans take academy graduates to heart and even though it would be a more international approach to signing youth talent, they would still be big hits with the Eastlands faithful.
On the negative side of thing there is clearly a lot of baggage, managers will have to accept that they won’t be as involved in player recruitment, which could easily strain relations. Roberto Mancini at City has been doing a good job in my eyes and is on track to achieve great things at the club and bringing in Arnesen could possibly upset the balance. The Spanish capital will clearly also be an attractive proposition to the talent scout, but would working with Mourinho again appeal to him, and if he were to go there in the coming weeks, what are the chances of seeing Jose Mourinho return to these shores over the Summer?
One thing is clear, there will be many clubs lining up and Arnesen will not be out of work for long whenever he finally walks away from Stamford Bridge.
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